Feminist Frequency launches new series: “Queer Tropes”

Posted on March 8, 2019

2009 marked the launch of Feminist Frequency, a website created to promote feminist criticism of popular media. The first big series,  “Tropes Vs Women in Video Games”, has come to be an absolute landmark.

Delving into some of the more misogynistic tendencies in the realm of gaming, it garnered a vile firestorm of controversy. This anger, and vitriol, would go on to make the creator, Anita Sarkessian, a figurehead of feminism in the gaming space.

In the past decade, Feminist Frequency has gone from strength to strength, building a safe space for criticism of pop culture through the lens of gender. But we’re here to talk about the latest entry in the Feminist Frequency story. Headed up by gaming journalist and transgender woman, Carolyn Petit, Queer tropes in Video Game,  is here to shine a light on the tropes that hurt the LGBT+ community.

“Is Ghirahim Gay or Just Coded That Way?” covers the murky waters of Queer coding.  This trope has been around for ages. Queer coding essentially refers to characters that implied to be LGBT without being specifically referred to as so.

This can be frustrating in the modern days with characters acting as “queer bait”. But the history of video games shows a much more destructive version: The Queer coded villain. A villain often maligned for “deviant” behaviours that serve to ostracize those with non-heterosexuality and non-cisgendered identities.

“Looking For Love from Fallout to Dream Daddy” demonstrates the lack of relationships outside of the standard heterosexual. As time goes on, more and more games are getting inclusive to people of all sexualities. But the games that allow for such relationships are in the vast minority. Even still, it begs the question: Don’t we need more games that include LGBT relationships as part of a set narrative?

“Can we do better than Zelda?” delves into the homophobia and transphobia in portrayals of some characters. Pop culture is littered with offensive stereotypical portrayals of minorities, and games are no exception. Text adventures imploring you to avoid being pursued by gay men (with a slur, no doubt). Deplorable visual gaffs made at the expense of transgender women. Games contribute to these stereotypes to further ostracise members of the LGBT community. We’ve become more aware and more critical of such practices, but as is demonstrated, we still have work to do to stop these messages be sent out.

Feminist Frequency is definitely a site that courts controversy. But the fact is, they are starting conversations that need to be had about the entertainment we consume on a near constant basis. The truth is what we are what we eat, and the society we currently have is constantly fed on a diet of media. I wish good luck to Carolyn Petit, Anita Sarkeesian and the rest of the team at Feminist Frequency.

Hopefully they can encourage people to think more critically about the messages being proliferated by the media.